Power Breakfast: DeKalb kills GM redevelopment, low interest rates, housing setback, credit card debt, Carter

The big local business story comes out of DeKalb.

Balking at giving public money to a private developer, DeKalb County voted Tuesday against investing in the redevelopment of the shuttered Doraville GM plant, AJC staffer Megan Matteucci reports.

Instead, the county will likely use $36 million in federal stimulus bonds to upgrade its aging water and sewer system.

After months of closed-door meetings and negotiations, the DeKalb County Commission voted 5 to 2 to kill the $54 million project that called for a mixed use of retail and office space, as well as residential units at the site near I-85 and I-285, Matteucci writes.

The plan called for giving $36 million in federal stimulus bonds to Florida developer New Broad Street. It also required another $18 million in interest, which would be paid for by a property tax increase, Matteucci reports.

“The commission realized this wasn’t the right time to give $36 million to a developer,” said Commissioner Elaine Boyer, who represents the district that includes the GM site. “Taxpayers were revolting. I got hundreds of e-mails. What you saw today was representative government at its best.”

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5 comments Add your comment

Chris

August 25th, 2010
6:25 am

Thank God some sanity prevailed. Using the taxpayers of DeKalb county to give GM and a private developer a sweetheart deal would have been “disaster capitalism” at its worst.

I’m certain that the citizens of DeKalb will benefit much more from having clean drinking water than a multi-million dollar retail white elephant.

It’s good to see local officials doing their jobs and standing up to corruption. Politicians (particularly at the state and executive level) love to preside over ribbon-cutting ceremonies for these white elephant projects, while leaving the taxpayers stuck with the tab.

Good work Ms. Boyer, we need more people like you in public service!

[...] Power Breakfast: DeKalb kills GM redevelopment, low interest rates, housing …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Balking at giving public money to a private developer, DeKalb County voted Tuesday against investing in the redevelopment of the shuttered Doraville GM …and more » [...]

Jon

August 25th, 2010
9:17 am

Cheers to Dekalb for making the right decision this time.

jd

August 25th, 2010
10:49 am

Most Dekalb commissioners made the right decision. It’s the ones that didn’t that will be booted out on the next election. Hear that, Burrell?

Butwadduino

August 25th, 2010
4:00 pm

Though there is some argument that the project would be a net tax revenue generator for the county, this is probably a good decision at this point. Given the likelihood of an extended office and retail real estate surplus, this type of project would add unneeded inventory and probably remain empty or partially leased for some time, negatively affecting the recovery of property values, rents, and absorption elsewhere. Unfortunately, the GM site will be unproductive and off the county tax rolls, but the little public investment that can now occur is better spent on rational infrastructure improvements that both provide construction jobs and lay the groundwork for future growth. In the mean time, if they don’t drop the ball, Doraville and DeKalb have an opportunity to plan an innovative, imaginative development for the site and be in position to help get it right when there is a valid market-driven need.